Having a long transit at the Turkish Airlines lounge, I head out early to one of the more distant gates from the lounge.
As I arrived at the gate, there was a crowd piling up in the pre-boarding area where Business class passengers were allowed to sit down and wait. Boarding eventually was called and started around 01:30 by which time many passengers were already restless and eager to get onboard.
TK56 Istanbul Atatürk IST – Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta CGK
Boeing 777-300ER TC-JJR
Gate 226 Seat 7K
While we boarded what seems to be the same configuration of Business Class seats in a 2-3-2 forward facing configuration, there was something different about the seats and the features as I would cover.
Amenity kits was found below the armrest with a blanket on the seat on top of the lumbar support. Slippers can be found on the ottoman but the plane seems older and the ottoman cannot be opened.
Instead there was storage to place your shoes and small bags below the legrest. There was also extra small storage space in the middle of the 2 seat backs highlighted in red.
Another giveaway that this was probably one of Turkish Airlines’ older 777-300ERs was from the inflight remote which was in the more traditional style rather than the more advanced type with its own built-in screen.
Seat controls to adjust the seat into a full lie-flat bed was also a bit worn on the buttons, and without any presets.
The reading lights here was not as sleek either since it came in the form of a flexible extender that could be a bit irritating on the left side. Thankfully, even though the seat was older, the entertainment user interface was updated to be in line with the newer planes and the screen was not that bad either in terms of resolution and size.
Business class was more or less full with a couple of empty seats. Boarding was completed by around 02:00, and the stewardess Sila serving our cabin served welcome drinks after the completion of boarding.
Menu were distributed but the pens used to fill in breakfast orders was passed later. Dinner orders taken while we were on the ground and the chef onboard mentioned it will take around 30 mins for them to prepare the breakfast.
As the menu for the wines and other beverages was similar, I would not repost it, though readers can refer to my other Turkish Airlines flight to check out the beverage list. During the taxi, headphones were passed around the cabin for Business class passengers.
Pullback took place around 02:20, but it seems there was still Turkish planes landing at this hour and there was a wait for the runway which meant take off was past 02:30.
Seat cover and pillows were made for business class cabin after take off, similar to the late night departure out of New York. Hot towels were distributed by the steward and then customs form were laid on every seat since some passengers have started sleeping in the flight.
The meal service seems to be shortened for this flight with the nuts and amuse bouche served at more or less the same time. The canapes served before the meal was tastier though with some kind of tapas roll, a meatball on a stick and some tart filled with chopped fish and avocado.
For the appetizers, I had picked the Turkish meze which has 4 kinds of items though they were not all to my taste.
My favourite dish of the meze was the item wrapped underneath the leaf, which is some kind of fish cake if I am not wrong. Since the stewardess serving did not bother to explain and I had forgotten some details of this flight, I shall leave it at there.
However the sweet pumpkin soup hit the right spot for such a late night flight! Bread was also served from the basket and it was placed in the specific section above the condiments plate. I really like Turkish Airlines attention to detail in the meal service.
For the main course, there was a dish that I had ordered from a past Turkish Airlines flight. This was the Karniyarik traditional stuffed eggplant dish that I enjoyed once again.
After the satisfying main course, I eagerly awaited for dessert. Since many passengers were already asleep, I was able to get both the chocolate cake and pistachio ice cream without issue. Meanwhile, I watched the movie ‘Taxi 5’ with my late night supper since I have been a huge fan of the ‘Taxi’ movie franchise.
With the conclusion of the supper service, I swiftly head to the restrooms to freshen up and change to a comfortable piece of lounge wear before turning in to sleep. I managed to only have a short 2-3 hour sleep before waking up with 5 hours to go into the flight. As we were still flying over India, I promptly tried to go back to sleep.
For those seeking snacks, Turkish Airlines does prepare snacks in the galley as always. In this case, there was small canisters of Pringles, Twix and Snickers chocolate bars, crackers and fruits.
Eventually breakfast was served and at this point in the flight, there was plenty of sun outside the window. I had asked for yoghurt and the honey comb as sides while I ordered the orange juice with a glass of hot black tea with lemon for drinks. The breakfast appetizer consists of cheese, olives and cold turkey breast over a few slices of tomatoes. It was plain and nearly tasteless so this was not what I was looking forward to after waking up.
The main course of the flat pastry filled with cheese was at least warm. But it was nothing to shout about either so this meal is perhaps my least favourite onboard Turkish Airlines.
After the breakfast service, it was time to just enjoy the sun and relax in the seat.
At this point, I noted the stewardess was not in the best mood and they were more keen to chit chat in the galley leaving minimal service to the stewards. It was only when the captain announced our descent that the stewardess seems to reluctantly go around the cabin to do their duties.
Our descent into Jakarta was fairly uneventful since the weather was great with a nice sunset following us on our descent.
Our route brought us to approach Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport from the east, passing by Citarum river before landing into the airport on the west side of the city. I suspect this could be due to congestion which is becoming common in Jakarta nowadays.
After our landing, it was a relatively long taxi into the parking area where we stopped beside an Emirates 777 that was pulling back from the gates for its departure.
Based on my 4 flights with Turkish Airlines, this flight was the most forgettable due to the older plane cabin and the indifferent crew. However amongst all 4 flights, I can honestly say there was no outstanding service encounter with any crew member or ground staff with Turkish Airlines. There does not seem to be any feeling of hospitality from the staff and to some it even felt like a bothersome thing to serve passengers. Staff onboard sometimes also gets confused with the wide variety of meal and drinks choices so what you order might not always be what you get.
Now that the negative part of the airline has been touched upon, I do have to give them praise for the quality of their meals, beverages and self-service snacks. The choices were almost always tasty and there is enough choice to satisfy even the picky taste buds. In addition, the Business class seats offer extremely good value for a full lie-flat seat since the cost of my return flights from Jakarta to New York via Istanbul was around $2,300 per person. This was a good value considering I gained plenty of Krisflyer miles from this routing and it was a comfortable flight where I could recline fully and have a good sleep on 4 long-haul flights. As such, I would definitely fly with Turkish Airlines again if the prices for Business Class were still this reasonable!